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Stompfrog's custom bass Project!

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by stompfrog, Mar 8, 2006.

  1. Preface:

    Hello and welcome,

    This is potentially the start of a huge thread which will follow the story of the loss of my luthier virginity from design conception all the way to tuning up and plugging in the finished product! :hyper:

    Alternatively I may run out of money, enthusiasm or expertise and end up with a bedroom full of wood. Either way I have decided that the time has come to build a bass. :)
  2. CHAPTER ONE - The Wood:

    I am a big fan of natural oiled finishes and I really want some great wood to base my design around. I love the look of walnut burr and several other exotic woods and think that they would make a great top for the body... however most of the wood suppliers I can find have only got these woods in 0.7mm veneers.This sounds very thin to me :confused: and leads to my first question...

    What is the minimum thickness you would suggest using for an ornate top?
  3. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    You can use any thickness you like, so long as you have the ability to work with it. Really fancy lookin' stuff like the various burls are generally cut into veneers simply because the wood suppliers can make more money that way (and you get the same look for less money). If you have the ability to work with veneer then there's absolutely nothing wrong with using it for a decorative top. Personally I have very little veneer experience, though I keep meaning to give it a try. Joe Woodworker is an excellent resource for all things veneereal.

    Of course, the fact that veneer works doesn't mean it's the only way to go. Our friendly local wood suppliers can get you tops of just about any thickness in any wood, so long as you're willing to pay for it. There are two wood supplier forums in the "Sponsored Forums" section and either one should be able to help you out (I think they both ship to England, though you'll have to decide if it's cost effective or not).

    As for the project itself, good for you! Everyone starts somewhere, and it's always a big learning experience. So long as you treat it as such (and don't expect perfection) you'll have plenty of fun. And just so you know, if you catch the bug like the rest of us you can pretty much kiss your disposable income goodbye.


    PS: If you haven't already, check out the FAQ sticky in this forum and spend some time playing with the search function. The folks here are more than happy to help you out but some can get irritated if you ask questions that have been answered a thousand times before.
  4. Save yourself the hassles of working with veneers...they are many if you don't have a proper vacuum bag setup. Go with a top no less than 0.1" thick, the money you spend on it will be worth it.
  5. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    LOL still laughing at the term "veneereal". :)
    Nice one Nateo.
    I would suggest at least 1/16" or 1/8". The more the better in my taste. Paper thin tops would be very tough to work with, hard to sand down what you don't have.
    Good Luck,
  6. Thanks for the tips guys, I thought that thicker tops would be the way forward but it seems a lot harder to source the wood. I have PM'd Larry from gallery hardwoods to see if he can deliver to the UK. *fingers crossed*.

    I was running around measuring everything on my basses last night.:hyper:

    So far I am thinking....

    - Body thickness 1 3/4"
    - 34" scale length (fretless - just so I dont have to worry about putting frets in)
    - Asymmetrical body, like a jazz bass but smaller and with no pickguard (warwick thumb size) + countoured body maybe?
    - At least 1/8" top (thanks dirk, erik, nate)
    - Maybe MM pup config but more likely JJ (cos I love the shape of the routs on an unfinished body). What an awful reason :rollno: Probably Seymour Duncans. :bassist:

    Why is everything imperial? Hasn't the milimetre plague reached your shores yet?
  7. nateo

    nateo Schubie Fan #1

    Mar 2, 2003
    Ottawa, Ontario
    We've been metric up here for years but I still prefer to work with imperial measurements when I'm building things. It's likely because I did a bunch of my growing up in the USA, but for some reason 1/8" means more to me than 3.175 mm.

  8. Dirk Diggler

    Dirk Diggler Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Anytown USA
    It's funny when I was a kid in school we were told the metric system would be the law when we got older. For some reason it never made it, probably since it makes so much sense. :)
    Good luck with the project, however you want to measure it.
  9. Funny you should mention that. I was told the same thing but had not thought about it in a while. When I was at Luthier school everything was in .001's of an inch and then translated back into fractions if needed. I made a cheat sheet. Hundred thousandths of an inch make sense to me for whatever reason but it gets old saying " Seven hundred and fifty thousandths" instead of "three quarters". I wonder how many mm's that is....

  10. OK, I think I have found my wood...

    Where can I get me me some flat sawn Walnut Burl???


  11. What do you guys think of these first three preliminary designs?

  12. Nice - but for my taste, kinda 'hippy' or 'wide at the bottom' - ya know what I mean? But I like bass3 best of these designs.

  13. Yeah I thought that they were all a bit bootylicious. I only got the CAD program yesterday and I can only seem to pull off a fat arse. Must find the slimming option on the menu system :meh:
  14. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    Ebay has lots of wood, look under walnut in the crafts part.

    Is that going to be a veneer? If not that will be one spendy piece of lumber...
  15. instigata


    Feb 24, 2006
    New Jersey
    my school has an AMAZING CAD program, AUtodesk Inventor 10.

    its godly. i've been spending some time at lunch getting my shpes together. as soon as i have a decent idea or two, i'll be sure to fill you in. :)
  16. Suburban


    Jan 15, 2001
    lower mid Sweden
    1 for nice or 3 for wild. 2? Flush it...

    Just my opinion, OK?
  17. This is a crude photoshop the top half of 1 with the bottom of 3.

    Bass 1 + Bass 3 = Bass 4

  18. Worshiper


    Aug 13, 2004
    New York
    i like 3 the best by far! I really really like it. The only thing I would suggest is making the lower horn a bit further from the body. You may have some difficulty fitting your hand between the neck and the horn as it stands now.
  19. full_bleed


    May 27, 2005
    I think 2 looks the best but I think it might look even better with an offset waist. 3 is nice but I would personally do some refining of the heel's shape. I suppose it all depends on how you plan on rounding the edges and if you are going to make any extra body shaping like an elbow cut or something as to how or if I would change 2 or 3. I thought 1's horns looked to thin personally.
  20. I'd go with 4. Like others have said, though, you might want to widen the horns a bit and narrow the bottom. you might not, though, if your headstock flows with the design.

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